Holiday arts and lights shine bright in Downtown this week

Downtown KC will be dazzling this week, as holiday magic lights up Crown Center and every neighborhood. Hop aboard the KC Streetcar one evening this week and see for yourself. Ho, ho, ho!

From the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train at Union Station to the final week of the Kansas City Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker; from the Kansas City Symphony’s Christmas Festival to The Elders at Knucklehead;s; and from Harry Connick Jr. at the Midland to, well, could it get any better than that?… Downtown will be Dazzling this week. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Dec. 17-23:

Downtown Dazzlenow in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives, including…

The Kansas City Ballet presents its traditional holiday treat, ‘The Nutcracker’ over seven final performances this week at the Kauffman Center.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature 12 holiday-inspired performances this week, including:

  • Christmas Festival – Kansas City’s favorite Christmas concert tradition returns with the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus. Cherished Christmas carols and Yuletide songs, talented special guests and one jolly visitor from the North Pole are sure to fill you with holiday spirit over the final two (of seven) performances at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Handel’s Messiah – The Spire Chamber Ensemble and Baroque Orchestra returns to the Kauffman Center just in time for the holidays to perform this masterpiece with period instruments like you have never heard before…inspiring, dazzling, joyous. The performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • The Nutcracker concludes its holiday run of 20 unforgettable performances this week in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The Kansas City Ballet presents this magical, Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman complete with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. The Nutcracker will be performed seven times this week with shows on Thursday through Sunday, with the finale beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • It’s A Wonderful Life – The holiday classic film comes to life with Dimitri Timokin’s timeless score performed by a live symphony orchestra, while the full film is shown on the big screen at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Helzberg Hall.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 14 rockin’ shows this week, including The Elders in a sold-out performance at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the Garage; three performances by Danielle Nicole at 8 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 p.m. Friday and  7 p.m. Saturday in the Gospel Lounge; and the Katy Guillen & The Girls Farewell Show at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Harry Connick Jr. returns to KC this week to rejoice in New Orleans’ Tricentennial Celebration with a holiday concert at the Midland.

The Midland will light up Downtown this week with two inspired performances, including:

  • Harry Connick Jr. celebrates New Orleans’ 300th birthday and the influences that shaped his career with this very special holiday performance at 8 p.m. Wednesday; and
  • Jackyl returns to Downtown KC to share its wild, untamed and uncouth approach to rock ‘n’ roll with equal parts hard rock, heavy metal and Southern rock, Jackyl will rock this town at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with five nights of live music this week, including DJ Lee and Friends Annual Holiday Show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; and Radkey with Drop A Grand and Bad Ideas at 8 p.m. Friday.

For King & Country will perform ‘Little Drummer Boy – The Christmas Tour’ on Friday at Sprint Center.

Sprint Center will smokin’ this week with two inspirational evenings of (a) holiday classics and (b) college hoops, including:

  • For King & Country – The Grammy-winning duo, featuring Cory Asbury, presents Little Drummer Boy, The Christmas Tour at 7 p.m. Friday. The Tour features favorite Christmas carols and music from their new album, ‘burn the ships’.
  • K-State – Vanderbilt will square off in a men’s collegiate basketball showdown at 6 p.m. Saturday. The 16th ranked Wildcats will be considered as the home team on the friendly KC court.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including five holiday productions this week:

  • Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun continues through Sunday at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Jingle Bells, Batman Smells – Theatre for Young America presents this glittering holiday favorite, which is runs through Saturday at the City Stage at Union Station.
  • Milking Christmas – Driven by a mission to keep the holiday perfect, Macey Maid-a-Milking finds herself in a lot of trouble as the future of Christmas hangs in the balance. Directed by Missy Koonce & Rusty Sneary, the hit musical runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
  • A Spectacular Christmas Show – Singing • Dancing • Show Tunes • Christmas: These are a few of our favorite things! Holiday tunes from musical theater, innovative arrangements of Holiday classics continue through Sunday at MTH Theater at Crown Center.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at